Go Viral!

You may have seen the YouTube commercial (www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnOyMSEWNTs) or heard about it on CNN. Production company Rhett and Link, of Raleigh, N.C., decided to create a parody that would not only bewilder people, but would make creatives in advertising agencies jump at the opportunity to wear a Red House T-shirt. Why? Three reasons:

  1. It’s irreverent. It plays off the stereotype of people in North Carolina. The commercial sings, “Where black people and white people buy furniture.” And “Can’t we all just get along?” It’s so politically incorrect that it gets forwarded along at a record pace. Over 1.7 million views on YouTube and rising.

  2. It’s kitschy. White couches, plastic covers on mattresses that crackle when jumped on, boxes in corners of the showroom. Nobody is yelling into a microphone about whole showrooms of merchandise on sale!! It’s refreshing!

  3. Nobody else has done this before. It’s first to market in the very-slow-to-adopt-change furniture industry.

Today, I watched an interview by Martin Lindstrom about the essential elements of viral video success. In summary:

  1. The video has to cause a sensation. It has to be the type of video that cannot be shown on mainstream TV because it’s way too edgy, has too much sarcasm, or has dark humor.

  2. The content has to spark a conversation. Red House captured it with content like “I’m a white man and I like bass fishing.” That will get people’s attention. You have to be willing to break rules.

  3. It has to have a “soap effect.” It must build on itself to keep the story going. The first video will capture people’s attention, but they’ll want more.